Jaguars' Joeckel welcomes comparisons to Boselli

Associated Press  |  Last updated April 26, 2013
The similarities between Luke Joeckel and Tony Boselli are striking. Close in size, weight and playing style, Joeckel and Boselli have so much in common that even their baby-faced, draft-day photos are being compared side by side. The Jaguars hope their NFL resumes look the same in five years. Joeckel, the Texas A&M offensive tackle selected second overall in the draft, was formally introduced in Jacksonville on Friday. He sat down with owner Shad Khan, general manager Dave Caldwell and coach Gus Bradley before meeting new teammates. He'll have to wait a little longer to meet Boselli, the second overall pick by Jacksonville in 1995 who made five consecutive Pro Bowls. He'll have to wait a little longer to meet Boselli, the second overall pick by Jacksonville in 1995 who made five consecutive Pro Bowls (1996-2000). ''It's great to have those comparisons, but I've just got to go live up to them now,'' Joeckel said. For weeks, maybe even months, the Jaguars thought Kansas City would select Joeckel with the first pick. But when the Chiefs chose Central Michigan offensive tackle Eric Fisher at No. 1, the Jaguars wasted little time grabbing Joeckel. And were pleased with the outcome. ''He's an excellent pass blocker,'' Caldwell said. ''He has an innate ability to be patient, and just like the defenders coming at him, has an answer for counter moves and speed moves. He does it very effortlessly throughout the course of the game, and very seldom does he look bad or like he's really overextending at all.'' With holes on both sides of the ball, the Jaguars could have gone in any direction in the first round. They chose to bolster an offensive line that allowed 50 sacks last season. Jacksonville believes the only way to best evaluate 2011 first-round pick Blaine Gabbert is to get him better protection to go along with an improved receiving corps that features Justin Blackmon and Cecil Shorts III. So Gabbert will have fourth-year starter Eugene Monroe protecting his blind side and Joeckel opposite him. Together, they could give Jacksonville its best tackle tandem since Boselli and Leon Searcy in the late 1990s. Caldwell also compared his current duo to what defending NFC champion San Francisco has out west. The 49ers drafted Anthony Davis to play opposite left tackle Joe Staley in 2010, and now they have one of the league's best lines and most explosive running games. ''Teams can bring pressure from either side, and it helps our offensive coordinator where if we don't have to chip on their right side we can put more players into routes,'' Caldwell said. ''You see what San Francisco has done with Anthony Davis. ... To have two really good offensive tackles is a good problem to have.'' Joeckel was admittedly disappointed with not being the top pick. But he quickly got over that when the Jaguars called him minutes later. He celebrated in New York City on Thursday night, but was relieved to head south with his parents, two brothers, sister and sister-in-law. They were just a few of the 27 friends and family members who joined him in the Big Apple for his life-changing moment. ''It's great to finally be here,'' Joeckel said. ''New York's all great. It's a great, big city and all that but that's not me. I am a College Station, Arlington guy. I fit in well with Jacksonville, and I'm just ready to start playing football. That's what I'm here for. I'm here to play football.'' Joeckel wasn't always a lock for the gridiron. He grew up playing football, baseball, basketball and soccer along with his twin brother, Matt. Luke started separating himself physically from his brother in eighth grade. That's when Luke moved to tight end and starting growing into a lineman. ''I knew Luke would be good,'' said his father, David. ''He had great size and incredible feet. There's not many guys his size who had his feet, so I knew he would be pretty good.'' Joeckel started 39 games over three seasons at Texas A&M, rising up the draft charts to the point where he decided to put his business degree on hold to enter the draft. Still, there was one overwhelming critique about the 6-foot-6, 306-pounder: a lack of nastiness, something that was never an issue with Boselli. ''I don't know where that came from actually,'' Joeckel said. ''I always pride myself on being a nasty player. ... I always wanted to be a nasty run blocker. When people question my nastiness, I feel like they're questioning my manhood a little bit, too.''
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